1 Feb 2024

Matej Mohoric descends to the win

After Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS had not managed to book a win in the month of January, Matej Mohoric made the best of his descending skills in the final descent of the second stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to attack and celebrate a solo victory. At the same time, the team is racing at the Al Ula Tour in Saudi Arabia.

For the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage race, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS lined up Pello Bilbao as its GC captain and Santiago Buitrago as his backup. Yukiya Arashiro and Kamil Gradek were brought as riders to control the race in the flats, and Rainer Kepplinger and Nicolo Buratti started as assistants for the climbs. Last but certainly not least, Matej Mohoric was also part of the team’s selection. Towards the end of the opening stage, Mohoric gave a first example of just how fast he can descend aboard his MERIDA road bike. But since the attackers were too far ahead, Mohoric dropped back to the chasing group and finished the stage in 7th place.

One day later, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS had to start with two riders less: Yukiya Arashiro was forced to abandon the race following an allergic reaction to a bee sting while Kamil Gradek was out with stomach issues. For this reason, the team decided to let other teams do the work and keep the breakaway well within reach. As the final category 3 climb of the day approached, first Nicolo Buratti and Rainer Kepplinger and then Pello Bilbao and Santiago Buitrago moved up in the chasing group, with Matej Mohoric firmly in their slipstream. As soon as the climb had been crested, Matej Mohoric moved into the leading positions of the race, and a few hairpins later, the Slovene was on his own aboard his MERIDA REACTO TEAM.

What followed was a true masterclass in descending, and Mohoric built enough of a lead to stay out of reach of his chasers on the last flat 2 kilometres. Thus, he fully enjoyed the last kilometres and celebrated a solo win. The chasers crossed the finish line in La Valldigna 13 seconds adrift, and Rainer Kepplinger added a top 10 result for Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS by sprinting to 9th place. In the overall standings, Mohoric moved up to 2nd place behind the surprising winner of the opening stage. "I had focused on this stage as it suits me best, and my team mates did a super job supporting me in the finale. From the moment the descent started, I just had to do my thing, pace my effort well and hit those turns, which I did“, Matej Mohoric said in the winner’s interview.

This week, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS is also competing at the Al Ula Tour in Saudi Arabia. While Fred Wright, as the team’s GC captain, can rely on the support of his young compatriots Finley Pickering and Edoardo Zambanini, Dusan Rajovic is the team’s protected sprinter. With Andrea Pasqualon and Jasha Sütterlin, he has an experienced lead-out train in his support, and Ahmed Madan completes the team. Three stages into the race, Rajovic has scored a 5th and a 6th place, respectively, while Fred Wright has worked his way up to 7th on GC. The first podium result of the season came courtesy of Phil Bauhaus in the opening stage of the Tour Down Under.

1. Matej Mohoric, SVN/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:47.48 hours
2. Giovanni Lonardi, ITA, + 0.13
3. Simone Consonni, ITA, st

Photos: zVg Sprint Cycling Agency